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Free Personal & Nursing Care: Public Information Booklet

Finding the Care That is Right For You

Circular No. CCD5/2003 Consolidated Guidance for Local Authorities, the NHS, and other service providers. Issued July 2003.

Circular No. CCD 1/2015 [PDF, 104.81 kb] The Community Care (Personal Care and Nursing Care) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2014. Information on revised payment rates. Issued 31 March 2015.

Circular No. CCD4/2009 [PDF, 56.93 kb] The Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002(Amendment to Schedule 1) Order 2009. Amendment to the legislation to clarify the issue of non-charging for food preparation for eligible free personal care clients.

Circular No. CCD 1/2010 [PDF, 97.21 kb] Guidance and Directions for self arrangers of free personal and nursing care. Issued January 2010.

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Free Personal and Nursing Care

Free personal care is available for everyone aged 65 and over in Scotland who have been assessed by the local authority as needing it.

Free nursing care is available for people of any age who have been assessed as requiring nursing care services.

Finding the Care That is Right For You gives information on care and support services for older people either for themselves or a relative. It will also be helpful for those providing unpaid care:

If you have been assessed as needing personal and nursing care you will receive this regardless of income, capital assets, or marital or civil partner status. However, if you live in a residential care home you will need to contribute towards your remaining accommodation costs.

Personal Care Services

To receive personal care services from your local authority, or receive payments to allow you to choose who will provide the services to you, you should contact your local social work services department to have your care needs assessed. The types of personal care provided will vary according to your assessed care needs.

If you live in a care home the local authority will assess whether you need these services. If the local authority agrees that you should receive personal care, your local authority will pay £171 per week (new rate from April 1, 2015) on your behalf directly to your care provider.  Payments of free personal and nursing care made by the local authority direct to the care provider are not liable to income tax.

The local social work services will assess you for:

  • Personal Hygiene - Bathing, showering, hair washing, shaving, oral hygiene, nail care
  • Continence Management - Toileting, catheter/stoma care, skin care, incontinence laundry, bed changing
  • Food and Diet - Assistance with the preparation of food and assistance with the fulfilment of special dietary needs
  • Problems with Immobility - Dealing with the consequences of being immobile or substantially immobile
  • Counselling and Support - Behaviour management, psychological support, reminding devices
  • Simple Treatments - Assistance with medication (including eye drops), application of creams and lotions, simple dressings, oxygen therapy
  • Personal Assistance - Assistance with dressing, surgical appliances, prostheses, mechanical and manual aids. Assistance to get up and go to bed. Transfers including the use of a hoist

The following care services may be chargeable:

  • Help with housework
  • Laundry
  • Shopping
  • Services outwith your home such as day care centres or lunch clubs
  • Cost of supplying food or pre-prepared meals is chargeable, but support with preparing meals will be provided free

The council can arrange these services but they are subject to a financial assessment.

Nursing Care Services

If you live in a care home and are assessed as needing nursing care services, your local authority will pay £78 per week (with effect from April 1, 2015) on your behalf directly to your care provider.

Attendance Allowance

If you receive free personal care at home you are eligible for attendance allowance, however, if you are in a care home and chose to receive free personal care payments you will no longer be eligible for attendance allowance after 28 days.

You must inform the Department for Work and Pensions of your change in circumstances on 08457 123 456.

If you only receive free nursing care payments your eligibility for benefits will not be affected. Further information on benefits is available: